Russia capitulate while Georgia rally in latest European Nations Cup games
While Russia would have been buoyed by their performance against Portugal in the last round of European matches, coach Kingsley Jones will have been bitterly disappointed with the manner in which they surrendered to a strong but beatable Romanian side at the weekend.
Georgia however rebounded from their own setback against Spain last time out with a more emphatic victory over the Portuguese.
Russia 0-25 Romania Before the game, Russian fans were in confident mood and were fully expecting a victory to Romania to emphasise just how far the country had come since the 2011 World Cup. Even neutral observers were pointing to a close game and one in which Russias backs should have threatened their opponents more than they ultimately did.
Russia suffered a blow with the late withdrawal of key player Denis Simplikevich who was taken ill and from then on, things just got worse for Jones side. After seven minutes they were behind to an un-converted Daniel Carpo try and with the Russian scrum under repeated pressure, a penalty try was conceded to allow the visitors to go in 12-0 up at the break.
The second half led to a similar scenario as Adrian Apostol and Cristian Petre added tries. With Vlaicu squandering both conversion kicks it was left to Valentin Calafeteanu to seal the win with a late penalty.
Its true to say that this was a weakened Russian, side missing several of its key players but nevertheless a reverse with no points on the board was a major disappointment.
Georgia 32-7 Portugal
Georgia reacted to their defeat against Spain by recalling Gorgodze and Kakovin to the squad and dropping the ineffective pairing of Abuseridze and Gigauri. The game started brightly and in stark contrast to Georgias dour and uninspiring rugby of late, this was a flowing, open game with good attacking moves from the outset.
It was a surprise therefore that it took so long for the first points to register on the board. Finally, after having an earlier try disallowed, Georgia took the lead on 37 minutes through Sharikadze with Kvirikashvili adding the conversion.
It stayed at 7-0 going into the break but in the second half, Georgia began to dominate and stretch their lead. Their flowing play finally wore down a gritty Portuguese back row and tries from Shkinin, Belkania and Kubriashvili, coupled with points from the boot of Kvirikashvili, secured a bonus point win.
Overall, it was another mixed weekend for both sides but the next set of fixtures offer both Russia and Georgia the best possible chance of sealing victories. Russia host the Ukrainians while Georgia travel to Romania, buoyed by their emphatic win over an emerging Portugal XV.